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Field Study in International Business


Field Study in International Business (FSIB) is a full second-year elective course, with the expected hours and work demands generally higher than for conventional Tuck courses. It is a real-world practicum in consulting with an actual client sponsor. It is a serious client-driven, client-supported program.

Course Objective

FSIB is learning by doing. It is an actual consulting experience for a real client, with deliverables, timetables, deadlines, uncertainties, and unexpected events. The course prepares participants for international business, particularly consulting, through hands-on experience in a challenging overseas environment. The FSIB experience requires students, working as a team, to use, integrate, and focus their Tuck-learned skills on a real-world project.

Project Timeline

FSIB projects are 13 to 15 weeks in length, divided into three phases, and are done twice a year. The Summer Track runs from mid-July through late September and the Winter Track from early October through mid-January.

The in-country travel dates for 2011 are as follows:
Summer Track: Monday, August 22nd through Friday, Sepember 9th
Winter Track: Monday, November 28th through Friday, December 16th

Phase One: Takes place in the US, prior to travel, lasting four to six weeks; the workload during this phase is equivalent to a mini-course

  • Attend a kickoff meeting after country assignments have been made
  • Choose a Team Coordinator at that meeting
  • Attend several one-hour conference calls/on-campus meetings to be introduced to the client and project (hours that do not conflict with summer internship work schedules or classes)
  • Prepare client engagement letter (in most cases we have a general understanding with the client about the project, but it is necessary for teams to refine the scope of work, deliverables, and other project specifics with the client)
  • Prepare a preliminary project work plan for review and approval by the client (this needs to be reviewed and confirmed before starting the in-country portion of the FSIB; Tuck does not have a confirmed consulting assignment until the client signs off on the project proposal submitted by the team in this phase)
  • Review the materials provided by the client
  • Begin secondary research (reading on the sector of concern and research on the company itself BEFORE contacting the client is encouraged)
  • With the client's assistance, set up a substantial number of interviews/appointments for the first week in-country
  •  

    Phase Two: Completed in the project's international venue, lasting three weeks

  • Meet with the client to confirm the detailed objectives and scope of the in-country work
  • Set up a substantial number (ideally 40+) of additional appointments
  • Conduct appropriate interviews
  • Provide daily updates to Team Advisor/junior Team Advisor
  • Continue secondary research, but focus principally on primary research
  • Begin synthesis and analysis
  • Prepare a preliminary presentation (storyboarding)
  • Present a two-hour preliminary PowerPoint presentation to the client
  • In-country private travel is also possible on weekends, work permitting (after Phase Two, students who wish to travel privately for some days are welcome to do so, at their own expense)

  • Phase Three: Returning to Tuck, after travel, lasting four to six weeks; again, the workload during this phase is equivalent to a mini-course

  • Meet regularly - two 90-minute class times per week are reserved for FSIB work in the term following your return
  • Meet several times with your Team Advisor to review your progress toward final presentation and report
  • Complete research, synthesis, and analysis
  • Prepare final conclusions and recommendations
  • Hold three or more one-hour conference calls with the client within four weeks after your return to Tuck
  • Present a two to three-hour final presentation to the client and faculty two weeks after conference calls; this may be done at Tuck, via videoconference from Tuck, or at the client's US office
  • Deliver PowerPoint slides and supporting materials (interview summaries, background data, etc.) to the client, with copies of all to the Center for International Business

  • Project Funding

    There are no costs to students participating in FSIB as it is entirely client-funded. The total client costs include a fee of $35,300 per project to cover part of the Center's administrative costs, plus visas and immunizations for student teams and Team Advisors. The client also pays for the out-of-pocket travel and lodging costs of the Tuck team and Team Advisor. No other fees are paid by the client. There is no profit margin in an FSIB project, meaning that Tuck does not benefit financially from the program. The client pays for the actual costs and no more. The important point here is that this is not a course funded by the Tuck School or your tuition.


    Student Participation

    The number of students accepted into the FSIB course depends entirely on the number of paid consulting assignments the Center can generate. With six to eight students on each FSIB team, it takes one client project for the Center to enroll every six to eight students into the course. Thus, the student acceptance rate is completely market-driven. We typically have had more students wanting to take part in FSIB than project opportunities. This results in the Center was not being able to place all interested students on a project team.


    Student Exchange

    You may participate in the FSIB if you plan to do an exchange term following the in-country portion of the project. For example, doing an exchange during the Fall Term will likely preclude you from a Winter Track project, but not the Summer Track. Understand that there is substantial work that occurs upon returning from overseas, and even while overseas, and you must commit to the entire project in order to participate.


    Travel Policy

    The following are policy and procedures for student and Team Advisor travel in connection with the FSIB program.

    1. Students and junior Team Advisors travel at economy class fares that are available and consistent with both safety and tight schedules; Team Advisors travel business class.
    2. Teams stay in good, moderately-priced business hotels, chosen to meet the rates approved under the US State Department per diem requirements for the city of assignment; student rooms are single occupancy.
    3. Student meals and incidentals are a percentage of those per diems governed by the US State Department for the city of assignment.